A Special Collection of Papers from the 25th European Symposium on Ultrasound Contrast Imaging
- Therapeutic ultrasound strategies that harness the mechanical activity of cavitation nuclei for beneficial tissue bio-effects are actively under development. The mechanical oscillations of circulating microbubbles, the most widely investigated cavitation nuclei, which may also encapsulate or shield a therapeutic agent in the bloodstream, trigger and promote localized uptake. Oscillating microbubbles can create stresses either on nearby tissue or in surrounding fluid to enhance drug penetration and efficacy in the brain, spinal cord, vasculature, immune system, biofilm or tumors.
- Contrast echocardiography microbubbles are ultrasound-enhancing agents that were originally designed to help improve endocardial border definition, known as left ventricle opacification, and to enhance Doppler signals. Over time, contrast microbubbles are used to assess myocardial perfusion because they travel through the capillaries of the cardiac circulation. Current research provides good evidence that myocardial perfusion echocardiography improves comprehensive echocardiographic evaluations of ischemic heart disease.
- The majority of exchanges of oxygen and nutrients are performed around vessels smaller than 100 μm, allowing cells to thrive everywhere in the body. Pathologies such as cancer, diabetes and arteriosclerosis can profoundly alter the microvasculature. Unfortunately, medical imaging modalities only provide indirect observation at this scale. Inspired by optical microscopy, ultrasound localization microscopy has bypassed the classic compromise between penetration and resolution in ultrasonic imaging.
- Initial reports from the 1960s describing the observations of ultrasound contrast enhancement by tiny gaseous bubbles during echocardiographic examinations prompted the development of the first ultrasound contrast agent in the 1980s. Current commercial contrast agents for echography, such as Definity, Optison, Sonazoid and SonoVue, have proven to be successful in a variety of on- and off-label clinical indications. Whereas contrast-specific technology has seen dramatic progress after the introduction of the first approved agents in the 1990s, successful clinical translation of new developments has been limited during the same period, while understanding of microbubble physical, chemical and biologic behavior has improved substantially.